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MCI back to normal after stabbings, lockdown

November 29, 2009|By DAN DEARTH

HAGERSTOWN -- The Maryland Correctional Institution south of Hagerstown returned to normal operations Monday after two units were locked down while prison officials investigated two stabbings that occurred Friday and Sunday, a state prisons official said.

Mark A. Vernarelli, a spokesman for the Maryland Department of Public Safety & Correctional Services, said investigators are still sorting through evidence and dealing with "uncooperative victims" who don't want to identify their assailants.

He said officials believe the stabbings were not related.

"In the first stabbing, (Internal Investigative Unit) detectives believe they know the motive of the attacker(s) and the reason behind it, but we cannot go into detail due to the nature of the investigation," Vernarelli said in an e-mail Monday. "The second incident may have been retaliation for a prior assault some time ago."

Vernarelli said the names of the victims are not being released to give detectives time to determine whether gang activity was involved.

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The victim of the Friday stabbing was released Monday from Washington County Hospital, Vernarelli said. Although the inmate was stabbed several times, none of the injuries were life-threatening.

Vernarelli said the 31-year-old victim is from Baltimore and is serving 23 years for robbery and kidnapping.

The victim of the stabbing Sunday was treated at the hospital and returned to the prison, Vernarelli said. That inmate is 23 years old and is serving a 10-year sentence for a robbery conviction.

Both of the assaults occurred in the prison yard, Vernarelli said.

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